Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

The Jerks on Vinyl



The Jerks' 45

It’s early 1982 and The Jerks have come out with their first 45 (they were featured on a compilation album in 1980 with their updated version of the Tornado’s Telstar).  

Sadly, by the time the band came out with this piece of vinyl the live music scene in the Illinois Valley was changing again and it wasn’t as exciting as it had been the year before and in 1980. 

Still, it was pretty cool for the band to come out with this recording. The producer of this recording was Skip Griparis who had worked with Alan Thacker and Dick Verucchi when they were in Buckacre. He also was a member of Olivia-Newton John’s band in the early 70’s.

One time Skip played at the Delta Queen lounge in Peru, Illinois (next door to Friday’s Saloon) and I helped him set up his equipment. He was and still is an actor and comedian and was in the films Major League and Major League II acting along side Bob Uecker.

The Jerks' 45If you look closely, you will see my name (actually my nickname Sparks) listed under live production along with Tom Joliffe (I helped with the lighting and the setting up of equipment).

I was really surprised when the record came out to find my name listed on the back

Oh yes, you might say that I’ve briefly tasted a bit of rock and roll fame.



  1. I found it interesting that over the weekend my girlfriend and I stopped by to see her daughter and son-in-law’s house that they recently purchased or should I say mortgaged. Anyway, the house (located in Granville, Illinois) looked familiar to me as I am a native to the area. Then I realized that it was the old Thacker place. When we went into the house to be shown around, I went back in time to 1965 when I took guitar lessons from Al (Everyone except for his Mom Evelyn called him Al at that time). I asked to see the upstairs and I remembered which bedroom was Al’s where he taught lessons on the guitar. I knew I had the right room because on the inside of the closet door were pasted all kinds of back stage passes that obviously Al had saved later on in his career with Buckacre. I remember them playing gigs as a back up band to Charley Daniels, Marshall Tucker, and the Outlaws. Talk about a nostalgic trip!! Of course I think he was moved out of the home place at that time, so maybe his younger sister saved them. Oh, don’t worry, I asked my girlfriend’s daughter’s husband if he would sell me the closet door but he said no. I think he figures it might be worth hanging on to. Is there anyway of getting in touch with Al? I’m sure he would be interested in the story. I attended old Hopkins High School as a Freshman when Al was a Junior. I remember that he was a huge Beatle’s fan.

  2. “Is there anyway of getting in touch with Al?”

    This might be him…


  3. Any chance someone could post the Jerks album here? Pretty hard to find otherwise.

    • I wish I had an Mp3 file of “Telstar” and “So Life-like” — I keep on hoping that someone out there in the Midwest still has a copy of their 45. I do, but it is back home in LaSalle. They were also on another compilation that I think was called “From the Heartland” or something like that. It was put out by the Prairie Sun that used to cover bands throughout the Midwest. Thanks for stopping by and come back soon!

  4. Veeman,

    Thanks so much for the offer, but I have them already!

  5. Hey Jeffrey, I contacted you a while back, but didn’t hear from you. I have a scan of a Jerks poster / photo that I would like to send your way. Myself and my fellow bandmembers from “The Prymates”, (a group based in the Peoria area), used to venture out to hear the Jerks in the early 80’s. Thanks for posting your experiences with the group.

  6. I was a Jerks groupie in college; I still have some posters, a button, a sticker and two 45s. They let me plug my ghetto blaster into their sound board one night at the UpRising in DeKalb, IL and tape them. It was incredible. I gave one set of the tapes (two) to Dave, and his car was broken into! I “lent” the other set to Al, and he thought they sounded so bad, he taped over them and gave me an old mix tape he had lying around. I was (and still am) crushed. I used to listen to that tape constantly. I swore I would learn guitar better so I could play the same solo he did on “Baja” that night. Every song was great. Al, if you really didn’t tape over those, pleeeeease make me a copy!!!!

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